Myanmar’s First Ever Coffee Competition

Myanmar’s first ever coffee competition took place in late May at Shwe Pu Zun in Yangon. It was led by Winrock and USAID, in cooperation with CQI and several Coffee Corps Volunteers.

Location(s) Yangon, Myanmar
Training Venue(s) Shwe Pu Zun Bakery and Roastery
Volunteer/Trainer Craig Holt
Other staff/volunteers Andrew Hetzel, Matt Graylee
Participant List(s) Myanmar Coffee Association, Barista Association of Myanmar, Ms. Nisakorn (Bay) Sinsawat (observer / judge), Wai Phone (observer / judge)
 
Host Organization Myanmar Coffee Association

58 samples from 53 producers were entered into the competition. The volunteers measured moisture, green graded, roasted, weighed, ground, cupped, judged, discussed, and gathered all the information needed to find the top performing coffees, and also to find the areas of improvement with the most potential for Myanmar coffee quality.

Matt Graylee from Flight Coffee explained, “There is great potential for high-scoring coffees from Myanmar as the baseline flavour profile is desirable. Based on the samples we worked with, I think training around post harvest processing systems will have the largest impact on cup quality in the quickest time frame.”

21 samples cupped above the 80 point specialty threshold, the top two coffees scored over 84 points, and seven of craig myanmarthe top 10 coffees were from small holder farmers. “There is significant opportunity for Myanmar coffee in the North American specialty market. Based on the qualities we saw during the cupping event, it is difficult to say just how high the quality might ultimately be, but if growers and millers can establish good business efficiency, and a solid understanding of quality, the coffees should be able to compete on the international market,” elaborated Craig Holt of Atlas Coffee Importers.

Without further ado, we’re pleased to introduce the top three producers from the competition: 

Place in the competition: 3rd
Farmers Name: U Nyo
Picture:  3rd place myanmar
Altitude: 1050m
Coffee area: 3 acres
Village: Lel Kaing
Why growing coffee: He is focused on coffee as business
Biggest Challenges: Market options and price
Method of harvesting: Picks exclusively ripe red cherry
Prune Coffee Tress: Tips and prunes tree sides
Prune Shade Trees: Yes, perfect balance of light/shade to avoid weeds
Coffee growing area: Semi-forest area yellow zone
Shade percentage: 30% to 40%
Processing method: Pulped by pounding, no fermentation (semi-wash)

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Place in the competition: 2nd
Farmers Name: Daw Myint Myint
Picture:  2nd place myanmar
Altitude: 1307m
Coffee area: 1 acres
Village: Pway Na Hpar
Why growing coffee: Family Tradition
Biggest Challenges: Market options and price
Method of harvesting: Picks exclusively ripe red cherry
Prune Coffee Tress: No
Prune Shade Trees: No
Coffee growing area: Semi-forest  yellow zone, (very close to the forest area)
Shade percentage: 30% to 40%
Processing method: Pulped by pounding, no fermentation (semi-wash)

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Place in the competition: 1st
Farmers Name: Daw Phyu Nu
Picture:  Daw Phy_ First Place Farmer
Altitude: 1302m
Coffee area: 1 acres
Village: Pway Na Hpar
Why growing coffee: Family Tradition
Biggest Challenges: Market options and price
Method of harvesting: Picks exclusively ripe red cherry
Prune Coffee Tress: No
Prune Shade Trees: No
Coffee growing area: Semi-forest  yellow zone, (very close to the forest area)
Shade percentage: 30% to 40%
Processing method: Pulped by pounding, no fermentation (semi-wash)

Marcelo Pereira, a CQI consultant, has been helping the area with agricultural training and processing and production improvements and will continue to be involved as the project grows. Earlier this year, CQI’s Technical Director Mario Fernandez and former CQI Executive Director Ted Lingle conducted a baseline assessment. CQI has long-term plans with partners like Winrock and others to continue focusing on processing and production to improve coffee quality in the country and to introduce high quality Myanmar coffee to the world. Stay tuned for more updates.

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